New England Patriots: Asante Samuel

Highlighting Pats-Falcons connections

September, 27, 2013
Each week, we’ll use this space to pass along players, coaches and executives from the Patriots’ upcoming opponent who have a tie to the team or other unique ties to the area and organization.

Below are current members of the Falcons organization with a New England tie:

Cornerback Asante Samuel. Now on his third team, the veteran cornerback was a pivotal member of the Patriots secondary during their run to consecutive Super Bowl wins from 2003-2004. Known as one of the most reactive cornerbacks in the NFL during his career, Samuel still has a nose for the football, as he managed five picks for the Falcons last season.

Personnel staff
General manager Thomas Dimitroff. The shot-caller in Atlanta has made a rather seamless transition from his role as the Patriots director of college scouting into his new title in Atlanta, taking over in 2008 and helping to quickly turn one of the league’s struggling franchises into a consistent playoff contender. Dimitroff has done so through quality drafting, sensible free-agent signings and bold trades, led by the decision to package multiple picks to move up in the draft and select star wide receiver Julio Jones.

Director of player personnel Lionel Vital. 2013 marks Vital’s first season as the director of player personnel for Atlanta after previously working as the assistant director to David Caldwell, now the Jaguars GM. Vital was the assistant director of college scouting for the Patriots from 2001-2004 after working as a national scout in 2000. He entered the NFL ranks in 1991 with the Browns where he was hired by Bill Belichick to the personnel staff.

Other connections
Offensive line coach Pat Hill. Now in his second season in charge of the Falcons offensive line, Hill is a respected assistant around the league who also has a close relationship with Belichick. He served as the offensive line and tight ends coach for Belichick from 1992-1995 with the Browns and has maintained a strong relationship since that time. Two of Hill’s players from Fresno State, where he was the head coach from 1997-2011, are stalwarts along the Patriots offensive line: Logan Mankins and Ryan Wendell.

Turning the corner?

November, 26, 2011
US Presswire
Former teammates Tom Brady and Asante Samuel will resume their rivalry Sunday when the Patriots meet the Eagles.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his teammates know better than anyone that Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel is still a game-changer:
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was on a conference call with the New England media this week -- one that old friend Asante Samuel punted on being a part of in advance of his first regular-season meeting with his old team on Sunday -- when the former Patriots cornerback came up.

Asomugha chuckled as a voice in the background -- maybe even belonging to Samuel -- could be heard interjecting.

"He's a funny guy," Asomugha said. " I don't know how he was when he was over there with you guys, but here he's just been loud and the guy that's always running around yelling something or doing something where everyone is watching him and stuff like that. It's fun being around him."

Oh, to be sure, there were fun times for Samuel in New England. His final year with the Patriots might have been his finest, as he earned the first of what's become four consecutive Pro Bowl honors and aided New England in putting together a 16-0 regular-season record.

But things didn't end so well. The last (and lasting) image most Patriots fans have of the ball-hawking Samuel is a potential interception clanging off his hands with little more than a minute to play in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. You know how that ended.

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